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A deciduous shrub or small tree up to 40 ft high in the wild, the trunk 6 to 18 in. in diameter, with a thin, loose, peeling bark; young shoots glabrous. Leaves alternate, ovate, ovate-lanceolate or oval, tapered or rounded at the base, pointed, slightly or not at all toothed, 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. wide, dark green and glabrous above, very pale or whitish beneath and downy along the midrib; stalk 1⁄3 to 1 in. long. Flowers of the ordinary fuchsia shape, pendulous, solitary in the leaf-axils, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long. Calyx-tube swollen at the base, then, after forming a neck, developing a funnel-shaped tube, finally dividing into four spreading wide-lanceolate, acute lobes 1⁄3 in. long, the colour greenish, greenish-purple, or dull red. Petals four, small, showing their pointed purplish tips between the lobes of the calyx. Stamens eight, very variable in length. Fruits 1⁄2 in. long, purplish black, juicy.
Native of New Zealand; introduced about 1820. It is very distinct among fuchsias by reason of its alternate leaves and by the globular swelling at the base of the calyx-tube. It cannot be compared with the S. American species in beauty of blossom, but it is interesting in its peeling bark. It grows to a large size in the milder parts of the country.